“O soul, are you weary and troubled? / No light in the darkness you see?” When we are faced with the trials of life that trouble our souls, our humanity tends to give us a natural tendency to see only that which is in front of us. A gift of perspective is one that very few have, though it can be learned – and oftentimes, we don’t exactly get the choice of whether or not we learn it. The circumstances and hardships of this life are constantly teaching us perspective, the one that lifts our eyes from the earthly to the eternal.
“There’s light for a look at the Savior / And life more abundant and free.” Do your heart, mind, and soul ever feel like they are despairing in darkness, that deliverance from your troubles seems like an impossible hope? I get it – sometimes it hurts to hope when the pain before us is all we can see at any given moment. I understand. But what feels impossible to us has already been made possible through Christ. As believers, we are never without hope – but sometimes, we just have to remind ourselves to turn our eyes towards the One who has already victoriously delivered us from it all – even if we cannot yet see it.
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” was written by Helen H. Lemmel in the year 1922. The daughter of a Methodist minister, she and her family emigrated from England when she was 12 years old. A gifted singer, she studied music and ended up teaching vocal music at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. One of her hymnals that she produced was a favorite of Billy Sunday for over a decade, and she even directed a choral group that was a part of Sunday’s program during the peak of his evangelical career.
At some point in Lemmel’s life, she encountered the story of Lilias Trotter, a missionary who devoted her life to reaching the people of Africa. Even though some critics even believed her to be an art prodigy, she forewent a life of fame and notoriety and instead with humility chose to spend her life reaching and loving the lost. “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” was inspired by Trotter’s poem “Focussed: A Story and Song.” It was said to be written during her forty years in Africa, living among the people in the desert, stripped of every distraction save her Jesus, her reason for living. In her writing, she expounds on her thoughts of one morning happening upon a small, half-withered dandelion that’s face is fully turned towards the sun. In stark comparison to the brown brush around it, the dandelion stands out, almost radiating in the morning dew – and Trotter relates this image back to how we too can radiate God’s love and light if we choose to turn our eyes fully towards Jesus, the Light of the World.
I found Trotter’s full piece here, and it’s worth a full read although it is too long to include here: https://jenmiskov.com/blog/turnyoureyesuponjesus. I highly encourage you to read it if you can. If internet access is something you do not have, please give me a call and I will mail a copy to you if you would like.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus / Look full in His wonderful face.” When we think about turning our eyes upon Jesus, where do you think He is? Are you like me, who oftentimes imagines a Savior who regards me from far away up on His throne – who needs to be reminded that as believers, He has actually been with us through it all, has never even left our side? When we suffer, He suffers alongside us, weeps with us, mourns with us. All we have to do is look up. Turn your heart heavenwards and ask God to reveal to you how the presence of Jesus is truly with you in your every moment. Ask and receive that blessed peace that passes understanding and comfort unfathomable. Invite Jesus into your humanity and allow Him to show you how dearly He understands. He does – I promise you this.
“And the things of earth will grow strangely dim / In the light of His glory and grace.” When our gaze is fixed on the eternal instead of the earthly, we are given a helping hand to make it through whatever we face. When you cannot take another step forward – that’s okay. God sees you, right where you are – and He has given us our blessed Jesus who walks alongside us through it all. After all, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:5).
“His Word shall not fail you, He promised / Believe Him, and all will be well.” God’s promises are as true and unchanging as the very nature of the Almighty Himself. Does that mean that God will take away your suffering? I will be truthful with you – probably not. He might, and there is nothing that makes Him incapable of such deliverance – but while you are where you are, if ever you find yourself there, I encourage you to turn your eyes upon Jesus and see what you might find.
Do you have a hymn you would like to know more about? Feel free to send in a request at email@example.com or by giving me a call at 205-926-9769. I would so dearly love to hear from you!